Security Case: ICU + El Dorado County Office of Education Stop Gas Thieves in Their Tracks

by | Dec 19, 2019 | School Safety | 0 comments |

The El Dorado County Office of Education (EDCOE) is like most educational institutions: they’re trying to create the best possible learning environment for students while protecting the resources and facilities necessary to support its mission. So when David Seabury, the EDCOE Director of IT, decided to update their security cameras, he took the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone and tackle another issue they had been experiencing.

THE BASICS

Seabury and his team of twelve IT professionals provide and manage the IT support for many El Dorado County school districts as well as the Special Services programs, Child Development, and Charter Alternative Programs. This support includes managing and monitoring the network equipment and WiFi connection for every school building. Seabury knew that their 12-year-old security cameras were in need of a serious upgrade, so he came to ICU for help in selecting the right solution and in addressing a rather annoying problem they had been dealing with – gas theft.

OUT OF GAS

One of the issues that EDCOE was looking to resolve was a frustrating history of frequent and persistent gas thieves who were siphoning gas from district vehicles.  Seabury noted that the problem recurred on a weekly basis, costing the county taxpayers thousands of dollars in lost fuel. These incidents also required the IT and Facilities teams to spend hours scrubbing the security footage to provide the local sheriff’s office with evidence of the crime.

 

A Helping Hand

While the EDCOE IT team had experienced great success with Avigilon equipment in the past, they knew that their new solution partner would need to understand and design a solution for their unique problems.

Enter ICU. In addition to ICU’s rapid response to EDCOE’s initial inquiries, EDCOE IT was very excited about the interest the ICU team showed in their issues.

Exhibit A: During that walk-through, we actually saw evidence that a van had recently been siphoned.

According to Seabury,

“ICU came out and listened to our problems. After that, they showed us the new Avigilon analytics technology and how it could help our situation. They even suggested specific camera placement during the initial walk-through.  It was a game-changer for us, and we were really impressed with what we saw.”

SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION

Once the EDCOE IT and Facilities staff realized the power of the solution ICU was suggesting, they decided to move forward with that strategy. The recommended solution combined the reliability of the new Avigilon cameras with analytic capabilities and remote monitoring.  These top-of-the-line cameras provided crystal-clear video footage during the day, while the analytics and remote monitoring empowered law enforcement to mitigate the losses that had been plaguing the EDCOE team for years after business hours.

EDCOE was also able to take advantage of ICU’s GSA Schedule 84 Contract to aid in the procurement process. During the installation, ICU leveraged their proven processes to make the transition as painless as possible.

Seabury states,

“[ICU] helped us through every step of the way. They were interested in making sure everything worked the way it needed to and spent more time than I would have expected to make sure that our system was running as efficiently as it could be. In many cases, they would remote in and help us monitor during the first few months. They would give us heads-up about software updates, too.”

After installation was completed, the ICU team continued to perfect the system, tweaking angles, zoom, and focus and finding ways to improve analytics until the monitoring was meeting the EDCOE stakeholders’ objectives.

 

CAUGHT RED HANDED

Once the cameras were operational, the remote monitoring service stepped in and teamed up with local law enforcement to catch the gas thieves in the act. On five separate occasions, the analytics triggered an event that notified the remote monitoring service, who then alerted the sheriff’s office – who caught the suspects during a crime in progress.  Afterwards, the EDCOE team was able to provide the footage to the necessary parties within a matter of minutes, supplying important evidence to authorities while saving what could have been hours of manpower.

Seabury noted:

“Our sheriff’s office is really impressed with the solution. I think they were just as frustrated as we were because they wanted to catch these people in the act as much as we did. I could tell that the ICU team cared strongly about catching the bad guys and it showed.”

In addition to contributing to the serving of justice in their community, the EDCOE team has effectively reduced the amount of property crime as well.

In describing the frequency of the events, Seabury shared,

“We went from seeing events happen about every week to barely any in just a couple of months. I feel like once word got out in our county that the target areas were being monitored, that really slowed everything down.”

In addition to a reduced number of incidents, the ones that do occur don’t require immediate intervention from the EDCOE team.

Seabury explains:

“The way we’ve set up monitoring, we don’t have to deal with the situation until the next day, when we get emails from the monitoring service and the sheriff’s department,” Seabury explains.  “We don’t have to lose sleep over it – we just review the emails the next day.”

 

An additional bonus of the new security solution?  A safer work environment for everyone, especially those who work after hour shifts.

Seabury continues,

“Our night custodial staff that work here after normal business hours have shared that they feel safer now because of the new system, and it’s extremely important to us that employees feel safe when they work on our campus.”

At ICU, we are dedicated to creating a safe, more secure, and fiscally responsible public environment.  That’s why we partner with government agencies at all levels to provide custom public safety security solutions that will meet their specific needs, budgets, and concerns.  To discover how we can apply our outstanding processes, technology, and experience to your situation, reach out to us here.

About the Author

Team ICU

ICU Technologies is a GSA Schedule 84, and CMAS Contract Vendor for Local, State, and Federal Governments Public Safety and Security Solutions.

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